The Infant and the Barbarian

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Brie and Danny sneak into the stark white performance space at LACMA just as Ladie Tomboi is beginning her piece. They were delayed by an unplanned but seriously delicious makeout session in the parking garage. It's sort of becoming their thing. Brie is feeling rested and buoyant from a nice long nap followed by an afternoon of putting pen to paper about the future of The Center, and Danny held her hand all the way inside. He's still holding it now.

Tran-spik-yoo-uhs is projected in large letters behind Ladie Tomboi, who is wearing a neon green beekeeper's suit. To her left is a small Asian woman with silver hair. To her right is her on-again, off-again girlfriend Himena. From behind the mesh of the beekeeper's hood, Ladie Tomboi speaks.

"My mother," she points at the Japanese woman with an edge of rage in her voice. "Himena," she points at Himena, who waves sheepishly at the crowd of stylish art people. Ladie Tomboi begins to walk circles around her mother, shouting, "She raised me in Canoga Park but she talked endlessly about Tokyo, never shut up about it. I couldn't take a bite of my char siu without listening to her say how much better life was in Japan because there were no Mexicans there. She seemed to hate the Mexicans, which confused me because half of my friends were Latinas, and so was the woman who came to take care of me when my mother went away to Reno to play Pai Gow. 'Who's my daddy?' I would ask her, and she would tell me he was some bigwig in Tokyo and I said, 'Then what the hell are we doing living in this shithole?' and she would just shake her head and cry."

Ladie Tomboi rips a patch of fabric from the chest of her neon green beekeeper's suit, exposing her naked breast. She takes the patch, slaps it across her mother's mouth, and then starts walking circles around Himena.

"Himena first licked my pussy in eleventh grade. We pretended to like boys. We'd go out drinking with them because they paid for our Purple Passion because they wanted to get in our pants. If we were mad at each other, sometimes we let them. But mostly we needed something to do until our mothers went to sleep—there were no fathers, nowhere I could see—so we'd get ripped and then come tripping home so we could go to bed together. It was on one of those nights in the green glow of Himena's clock radio when she looked at me and said, 'Homegirl, I think you're a Mexican, too.'"

Ladie Tomboi rips a patch from the crotch of her neon green beekeeper's suit, exposing a large bush of pubic hair that has been dyed to resemble the Mexican flag. She slaps the patch onto the crotch of Himena's jeans and returns to circling her mother, tearing the patch from her mouth. "This is the part where my mom admits that she lied to me about who I was and where I came from until two weeks ago. I told her I'd stop paying the mortgage on the condo I bought for her if she didn't."

The mother purses her lips. "Okay. First just let me say that I was very young when I had Christina—"

"Christina!" Ladie Tomboi is shouting. "She put Christ in my name!" She hangs her head and outstretches her arms to resemble her namesake on the cross.

The woman turns to her daughter. "Are you going to let me speak? I'm missing Pai Gow for this."

"Pai Gow!" LT shouts, tearing a patch from the ass of her neon green beekeeper's suit to reveal a Chinese flag painted on her buttocks. "Pai Gow and Char Siu and duck blood soup in the thermos of my Muppet Show lunchbox while she spent all her time telling me that we were Japanese!"

Danny leans into Brie. "I think we should go."

Brie nods. "I think so too."

Out into the safety of the corridor they run, their elbows locked in collusion. Danny takes her hand. "Those are some serious mommy issues."

They laugh as they walk along the corridor lit by vertical multicolor neon tubes. "That'll make the art section," Brie says. "I never thought she looked Japanese."

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